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  Inside Out East: Monday February 9, 2004


Person climbing into a window
Houses with little security are at risk

Operation Harrier is the toughest crackdown on crime Norfolk has ever seen. Find out how you may be able to recover your stolen possessions - and avoid being the victim of crime.

Norfolk Police’s Operation Harrier was launched in April 2003. It was so successful, it is still running. One of the main aims of the operation is the recovery of stolen goods.

On Harrier days undercover officers from the Norfolk constabulary strike in dozens of raids all over the county.

They have made over 500 arrests, put more than 50 men behind bars and recovered thousands of pounds of goods.

Protect your home

Sergeant Andy Usher, Crime Reduction Coordinator for Norfolk Police says, "Most burglaries are committed by opportunist thieves.

"I would break in and turn the photographs over - I didn’t want to be involved with the people we were stealing from."
Bob Turney, Probation Officer & reformed burglar

"In two out of 10 burglaries, they don’t even have to use force – they get in through an open door or window.

"Look at your home through the burglars' eyes – are there places where they could break in unseen? Have you fitted strong locks on your doors and windows? Would they have to make a lot of noise by breaking glass?"

Sergeant Usher suggests the following simple precautions can reduce the risk of burglary happening to you:

  • Fit mortise locks to all external doors and locks to all accessible windows
  • Secure and lock your home - especially when it is left unoccupied
  • Don’t leave tools and ladders in your garden which can be used by the burglar to gain access to your home
  • Fit external lighting and when you are away from home, use timer switches to turn on some internal lights when it gets dark
  • Cancel milk and newspaper deliveries when you are away
  • Don’t allow ‘cold callers’ into your home
  • If you want any goods or services use reputable companies whose addresses can be confirmed
  • Join a Home Watch or Neighbourhood Watch scheme

Recovering stolen goods

Helen Cushing
Helen Cushing was delighted to recover her stolen possessions

Norfolk Police have experienced difficulty in reuniting stolen goods that are recovered, with their rightful owners.

In a bid to tackle this problem, they have created a website which displays images and details of recovered items (see weblinks section below).

Super Intendent Charles Hall says, "Have a look at regular intervals to see if you can recognise anything on here that you may have had stolen."


It is estimated that nationwide, only 15% of property stolen is recovered by the police. The amount returned to owners is much lower.

Helen Cushing’s house was burgled and property including jewellery and electric items was stolen. Recently, she recovered some of these items.

She say, "Unless you’ve been through a burglary in your own home, you haven’t got a clue what it feels like… The whole of my house was just ransacked.

"I couldn’t believe that we would ever see it again so we are so pleased that we got it back."

Reformed burglar

Bob Turney
Bob say vulnerable houses are a burglar's target

The success of Operation H is a great achievement for Norfolk Police. The tight knit world of thieving is dangerous and difficult to penetrate. Probation Officer Bob Turney can testify on that.

Bob, a reformed career Burglar, learnt all about theft and that vast underground network for rapidly disposing of stolen goods.

Bob says, "I would break into houses and turn the photographs over because I didn’t want to be involved with the people we were stealing from.

"Back in the mid 70s when colour televisions were coming in, we used to steal them to order.

"We even had an after-sales service. We had a cracked engineer who used to repair them if they went wrong."

After a term in prison in late 1970s, and a significant period of rehabilitation and training, Bob now uses his knowledge of burglary to help young offenders.

Get it back

Anyone wishing to recover stolen goods can visit Norfolk Police’s Property Recovery website (see weblinks section below).

Anyone with information regarding crime in Norfolk can call the Harrier Hotline on 0845 6002842. Alternatively, Crime Stoppers can be called anonymously on 0800 555 111.

See also ...

Inside Out: East
More great stories

BBC: Crime Prevention

On the rest of the web
Norfolk Constabulary: Recovered property
National Neighbourhood Watch Association
UK Online: Dealing with crime

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

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Readers' Comments

We are not adding any new comments to this page but you can still read some of the comments previously submitted by readers.

Michael Crofts
We were burgled twice in 2 years. The police did what they could at the time but we haven't heard anything since, it would be nice if Essex police set up a website similar to Norfolk police's site.
We were burgled twice in 2 years. The police did what they could at the time but we haven't heard anything since, it would be nice if Essex police set up a website similar to Norfolk police's site.

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